• czech culture,  Czech Republic,  Daily Life,  Easter,  Recipe,  Spring,  Thoughts

    Quiet Days & My First Easter Lamb Cake {Recipe}

    Happy spring, I hope everyone’s made it through the other side of winter okay! We just had Daylight Savings Time (worth every minute of evening light, in my opinion) so the warmer days and lighter nights have made everything so much better. Sometimes I think I could be a winter person, finding the season more pleasant with each passing year. Then the first warmer, light days of the year come and it’s like, nah. It was another weird March. The virus is still raging around us here in Czechland, and in fact, the first half of the month, we were bound to our own municipalities. Fortunately just in time for…

  • Daily Life,  Lifestyle,  Thoughts

    Why We’re Reading (Or Not) During the Pandemic

    Have your reading habits changed over the past year? I’ve heard that many people have been reading less than ever before, as this interesting Refinery 29 article states. Some people seem to find it hard to concentrate. As this isn’t my case, I wondered why that would be, and the article mentions that since last March, people’s thoughts seem to drift towards our current situation and what’s in the news or the lack of social contact we’ve been having. This leads to checking the news, doom-scrolling Twitter or checking up on friends online instead of picking up our books, perhaps. I know a big reader who has been playing Animal…

  • Czech Republic,  Thoughts,  Winter

    Living Through the Pandemic, One Year Out

    It was nearly a year ago that the very first Coronavirus case showed up here in the Czech Republic. About ten days later, our lives would suddenly be disrupted when it was announced, after an emergency Tuesday morning parliamentary session that schools would close, effective the next day. Those early times — from the end of winter last year through the spring, all of our lives changed. Everyone was scared and uncertain, and despite what we would consider now to be very low case levels, I did not meet with another soul for almost two months. Absolutely nothing in-person took place. As spring gave way to summer, we saw cases…

  • Czech Republic,  Daily Life,  Film,  Language Learning,  Lifestyle,  Winter

    My Winter Joys, Goals, & Other Things

    How’s that for a title after that last post? Thank you for your nice words and reaching out; I’m feeling a bit better these days. The photo taken above was at our annual half-term cafe day at the mid-point of the school year, this time taking place on a bench in my favorite square. I like this photo because even though I wasn’t doing well, I wasn’t going to not participate in this annual tradition – you’d have to drag me away. It seems somehow hopeful. Typically I really like January (and this one has been lovely!), and even though it hasn’t been easy, I can’t but help still feeling…

  • Thoughts,  Winter

    One Foot in Front of the Other

    One foot in front of the other, I tell myself, as I trudge to where I need to be. Trudge trudge, trudge trudge. Things are going slower than normal on this very routine walk, in a straight line directly from the north to south of the city. I brought headphones to listen to a podcast, but I decide not to listen to anything. Listening to two people chatting obliviously would be far more painful than the silence of this moment. My mind is a blank. A freshly-painted white wall. No thoughts contained within. I feel odd for not having any. Shouldn’t I have some? I look at the recently fallen…

  • Herbalism,  Lifestyle,  Recipe,  Winter

    Recipe: Chaga Masala Chai Tea

    This past December I was all about ‘dat chai. I was constantly cooking up batches of this delicious, spicy and warming masala chai to enjoy in the evenings mostly, but even in the day time as an alternative to coffee. See… here’s the sad news. I had recently come to the realization that coffee is no friend to me. Maybe one of those frenemies, but not a true friend. I had also been doing a lot of research about healing my hormones and found that I ought to drastically reduce both coffee and processed soy consumption. I’m more of a black tea person anyway, so this wasn’t the worst news,…

  • Lifestyle,  Winter,  Yearly Recap

    The Books of 2020

    A big year for reading it was! I set my reading goal intentionally low at twenty books, but in the end I managed thirty-one! Perhaps this was because I still wasn’t sure if I would undertake any kind of formal studies and wanted to emphasize quality over quantity, and although I greatly surpassed it, I don’t really think the pandemic was the culprit. This was the first year that I really, actively considered reading books a hobby. Before it was just something I did, I guess, but now it’s gone full-out obsession, I’m either sorry or delighted to say. Ironically, I feel like I spend more time thinking about what…

  • Czech Republic,  Daily Life,  Winter,  Yearly Recap

    Year of Life & Travels: 2020

    We made it! And yes, even 2020 is going to get a recap post! I love these sorts of posts and catching up with what people were up to this year, so here we are. They’re also really wonderful to look back on and see the year as a whole. I know a lot of people choose a word of the year before the year even gets going, but as I do my year-end reflections on the last few days remaining, the word to define the year that was always comes to me. This year would be adapt, of course. And now, a run-down of the year that was… Ah,…

  • Christmas,  Daily Life,  South Bohemia,  Winter

    A Time of Simple Holidays

    Well, it’s hard to write anything without a computer, isn’t it? Fortunately I feel like I have an office again, a little home again, and my brain can sort of organize itself properly. (Note: Try to avoid ever having to purchase a new computer in mid-December. It is not the time.) Here we are in December, finally at the tail end of 2020. Funny about this year. As I’ve now been quite settled in České Budějovice for nearly eight years and counting, there isn’t a lot of expat stuff or cultural differences that I feel compelled to write about. Most of it is no longer so novel. Add to that…

  • Christmas,  Daily Life,  Thoughts,  Winter

    Grieving/Healing

    Perhaps it’s yesterday’s full moon bringing all of these ripe feelings to the surface, but the turn towards Advent time hasn’t been an easy one this year – an odd, uncomfortable feeling towards something that has always felt warm, comforting and joyful. I am still grieving and feeling so many heavy things, mostly a bit different of what I choose to show on the outside, but today, the first of December, I can feel the healing begin. I woke up and tiptoed to the kitchen where I saw a marvelous pink and purple sunrise, welcoming in this new month. As I went out with the dog, the sky was doing…